Get your comprehensive gambling breakdown of all the fights this weekend.
Welcome all you MMA bettors and gambling lurkers! Back at it again for another week of comprehensive gambling breakdowns.There isn’t a lot of good betting action for UFC on Fox 22 but we will do our best to find you all the value we can.
For those of you who are new here or those who have forgot, this aims to be an exhaustive preview of the fights, the odds, and my own personal breakdown of where you can find betting value. The number after the odds on each fighter is the probability of victory that those odds imply. If you think he wins more often than the odds say, you should bet it because there’s value in the lines.
As always, stats come from FightMetric and all the odds are from Best Fight Odds. Net Value means how much money you would have made if you bet $100 on that fighter in every one of his/her fights that odds could be found for and I calculate that using the closing odds for each fight. Doubly as always, I’m trying to provide the most thorough guide I can for those who want to legally bet or who just enjoy following along. If you are a person who chooses to gamble, only do so legally, responsibly, and at your own risk.
Now with all that out of the way, let’s get down to business.
Paige VanZant is a good developing fighter that’s likely slightly underrated, as a backlash against her marketing push. Make no mistake though, she’s a very talented young prospect who, given her youth and athleticism, will likely be a top contender for many years to come.
Don’t let her cover girl looks fool you, VanZant’s traditionally marketable exterior belies an incredible ruggedness. It’s that rugged physicality that has gotten her wins in the UFC far more than her technical skill. VanZant’s game is built around her athleticism and durability. She’s willing to engage on the feet but she lacks craft there and is exploitable by more skilled veterans.
VanZant is far more adept in the clinch where her physicality and relentlessness can more readily cover for her lack of technique. She’s also a fair clinch wrestler though her happiness to use the head-and-arm throw will backfire on her soon.
On the ground is where VanZant looks most like an Alpha Male product. She’s a good scrambler and works well in transitions. Once on top she works at a quick pace and can pass to dominant positions effectively.
On the other end, Waterson is much more of a technician (and an athletic one), but she’s a true atomweight so she will be giving up some physical edges here. Still, Waterson is a dangerous fighter everywhere and she’s fighting out of one of the best camps in the sport, Jackson-Wink.
Waterson is a striker by trade – as the “Karate Hottie” moniker would infer – and that is still her best area. She has a good understanding of range and angles to go along with her diverse striking game. She has a variety of kicks in her arsenal but also operates a steady jab and boxing combinations. She’s a decent defensive fighter as well, especially in context of the division. She is susceptible to being backed up to the fence though and her movement could improve.
Though her size may give her some problems in the clinch in this division, Waterson is a fair clinch fighter both in her positioning and her takedowns which her athleticism helps her finish. On the mat, she’s a very solid technical grappler, with offense from both her back and on top. She’s a good scrambler and positionally aware for the most part.
This is an extremely tricky fight for me to call, in part because of the number of wild cards in play here. For starters, women’s strawweight in general is a wild card as far as what will happen beyond the statement: Joanna Champion will beat somebody up. But more particularly in play here is the fact that Waterson has been out for 18 months and coming off a knee injury and PVZ is still only 22 and capable of making dramatic improvements in short periods of time.
Then there’s also the matter of how PVZ will even fight. In her last bout with Bec Rawlings she was content to stay on the outside and rarely pressured. If she does that here, Waterson’s range kicking game will almost assuredly tally up a huge advantage in points and give her the fight on the cards. VanZant would be best served to revert to her regular swarming self and come forward and put the pressure on Waterson. If she does that, it’s anybody’s fight. Waterson is still technical enough to catch her coming in and crafty enough to play it even in the scrambles so even if PVZ does enact a pressure heavy game plan Waterson could still come out ahead.
If there weren’t the questions surrounding Waterson coming in off such a long layoff, I would feel much more confident in better her. Still, I think her edges in skill and the texture of how this fight is likely to look favor Waterson so I will pick her to win a very fun decision. If she gets up to plus-money, I would be sorely tempted to bet her but you should almost never bet on somebody coming in off such a long layoff, especially when they’ll be the smaller, weaker fighter and thus more reliant on their skills.
Sage Northcutt is an absurdly athletic individual with a long background (as long as one can have as a 20-year-old) in karate. He likes to fight at range, operating behind a jab and long kicks and his years of training make him fairly good at both. But for all his hype as a karateka, Northcutt actually relies very heavily on his wrestling. He shoots a clean double leg takedown and finishes explosively. On top, he hustles hard but his grappling game is still developing and on his back he offers little.
Mickey Gall is a young, athletic guy who has beaten zero people who could be considered even close to UFC caliber. He’s a well-regarded brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and appears to have good wrestling instincts. Beyond that, we have absolutely no idea what he’s offering because his fights have lasted no time at all and they’ve been against…let’s call it “middling” competition.
I would love to give you a deep, in depth look into the contours of this fight, but the reality is that isn’t really possible. Both men are extremely young and very early into their MMA careers and as such this fight is only a marginal step up from regional level MMA. Both men are young and improving and to pretend like we have any idea how they will look from fight to fight is a fool’s errand. Will both men likely have long, productive careers? Absolutely. The UFC is counting on it. Should you put your money down here? Absolutely not. That being said the pick is Gall by submission as Northcutt doesn’t appear to have an advanced ground game but is more than willing to engage in grappling. Gall is a legit BJJ player, and if Bryan Barberena can tap Sage, so can Gall.
At his best, Urijah Faber is basically an anthropomorphic transition. As a striker, Faber is almost entirely a big overhand right (thrown either off the lead or as a counter) and the occasional low kick. At range, he likes to switch stance and feint to try and create openings for the right hand but that is sort of the extent of his craft in setting up his money punch. The problem is that while previously his striking was used mostly to disguise his entries into his dynamite transitional grappling, opponents have become much better at stymying this plan and Faber has become more willing to accept pure kickboxing bouts which very much do not favor him.
Similarly, Faber isn’t a great pure wrestler either, lacking a true diversity of offensive finishes and being surprisingly susceptible to takedowns as well. Where he excels is in transition, being able to blend his punches into grappling exchanges and being one of the most opportunistic finishers in the history of MMA. Faber has a veteran savvy which helps him find the back or the neck with the smallest of openings and he’s till quick enough to beat opponents around the turns. He’s a strong top position striker as well and ties his game together with excellent cardio.
Brad Pickett also has veteran savvy, well-earned over 12-year career spent mostly at the elite levels. He’s a very well-rounded fighter who at one time was an elite bantamweight, seemingly always on the cusp of title contention but never quite getting there. On the feet, Pickett is a talented combination boxer who works well in the pocket and wins on volume despite his “One Punch” moniker. He’s solid defensively, but at 38, he’s ancient for the division and his chin doesn’t appear to be what it once was.
Pickett’s best attribute is his grappling. He’s a good wrestler with crafty takedowns from the clinch and a solid, controlling top game. Similar to Chris Lytle, it’s really the grappling game which has been the basis for Pickett’s recent success and he has more submission wins than TKOs.
After a long, successful career, Urijah Faber is set to retire from MMA in front of his hometown crowd in Sacramento and he’s got one of the best possible opponents to look good in his exit. Pickett may not be retiring after this fight, but it is certainly not too long in the offing. Moreover, Faber is bringing more power in the striking and his scrambling and transitions should give him a significant edge in the grappling department. I expect Faber to eventually find Pickett’s neck at some point and get one last Alpha Male guillotine before riding off into the sunset. The line here is extremely wide so of course you shouldn’t bet it, but if you’re just looking for some action Faber by submission at +200 isn’t the worst way to go. Not something I’d bet but a viable flyer option for you.
Alan Jouban is a sharp, technical striker with big-time power. He operates behind a stinging jab which sets up the rest of his offense. He works at a great pace and most of what he throws has the capacity to end a fight with the quickness. Defensively, he is good at range and somewhat poor in the pocket. He’s a durable fighter and as such he can be drawn into brawls where his power often carries the day but isn’t his best strategic decision.
Jouban is also a very good clinch fighter where, like on the feet, he operates at a high pace. He has good control and positional awareness and can rough dudes up there very effectively. As the stats show, Jouban isn’t much for fighting on the floor and considering his opponent I doubt wrestling will come into play at all. That being said, he’s a good defensive wrestler and can land trips from the clinch if needed.
Mike Perry is still young in his career but he has many of the hallmarks of a fighter with a bright future. He’s a great athlete with tremendous speed and power and he pushes a tremendous pace. He’s also shown good natural fighting instincts with his timing and ability to shift attacks towards openings. In many respects, Perry’s greatest strength is in knowing what he doesn’t know. His striking game is narrow but effective – relying mostly on a left hook and overhand right, supplemented by leg kicks – and he doesn’t try to get too far outside his wheelhouse. Beyond that there isn’t much to say about Perry’s game because we haven’t seen much of it and it doesn’t figure to be much of a factor here anyway.
Honestly, I have no idea what is going to happen here other than fireworks. Both guys are tough, pack heat, and willing to throw hands until one of them falls down. One day soon, Perry’s defensive liabilities are going to give him serious problems and it may just be today. Perry is much younger with the potential to improve more rapidly but Jouban is a higher depth of skill and a strong secondary area to fall back on should Perry start getting the better of him at range. I will give a very slight edge to Jouban in this fight and pick him to win via third-round TKO and given that, I like a bet on him at plus-money.
Though Wineland appeared to be on the downswing of his career going into his last fight, he turned back the clock and knocked out Frankie Saenz. Wineland has some of the best striking in the division. He pumps a stinging jab and follows it up with a fierce right hand which can really thump people up. He’s not the most accurate striker but when he connects cleanly it hurts and he throws enough volume to get the job done. He’s also good defensively, employing excellent head movement which sets up nice counter opportunities. The rest of Wineland’s game rarely comes into play as he has an almost bulletproof takedown defense and pops up quickly on the rare occasion his butt actually touches the canvass.
Takeya Mizugaki is a veteran’s veteran who is the textbook definition of well-rounded. He’s a sneakily powerful striker who can work from the pocket and does a good job of attacking the body. He thrives in grappling exchanges where in top position he “embraces the grind.” He’s not much of a finisher though and his recent performances have raised serious questions about his durability.
This fight looks to be teed up for Wineland to pick up a win. Mizugaki is a competent boxer but he relies on his ability to mix things up effectively with grappling exchanges. He’ll get no joy here though and I fully expect Wineland to box his ears while defending every takedown attempt. The pick is Wineland by second-round TKO, and I like him for a bet at anything below -300.
Luis Henrique da Silva (-225/69%) vs. Paul Craig (+185/35%)
Henrique da Silva is an aggressive fighter who works at a tremendous pace for the division. He has good power and a punishing clinch game but he’s a defensive liability, and if it weren’t for rugged toughness, he would have a pair of UFC losses instead of wins. Craig is a grappler by trade, and a good one, adept in transitions and off his back. He’s not much of a wrestler though and his striking game isn’t anything to write home about. If this stays on the feet, da Silva is going to finish it and the same can be said of Craig if it goes to the ground. Considering his underwhelming wrestling game, I’m inclined to favor the former heavily and thus the pick is da Silva by TKO in the first. That being said, you shouldn’t touch these odds given the unpredictability of this particular fight.
Cole Miller (-105/51%) vs. Mizuto Hirota (-115/53%)
You’ve all seen Cole Miller fight and you know what he brings to the table. He’s got good size for the division, a long and functional striking game, limited wrestling, and excellent grappling, particularly off his back. Hirota is hard-nosed grinder who works in combinations on the feet and is a savvy and adept wrestler and top position grappler. Honestly, it would be very tough to pick Miller against almost anyone given how he’s been talking and his lack of interest in fighting and this isn’t even a particularly kind style matchup. The pick is Hirota by decision and I like a bet on him at anything under -150.
Bryan Barberena (+300/25%) vs. Colby Covington (-360/78%)
Colby Covington is a really good prospect who is slowly developing into a true talent at welterweight. Bryan Barberena is a very tough fighter who works a high pace and has a penchant for knocking hype trains off their tracks. This is a very simple fight to analyze; if Barberena can keep it standing, he will win. If he can’t, he will lose. Barberena’s a serviceable defensive wrestler but I don’t think he’s good enough to fend of Covington, especially the re-shots and chains. Covington wins by decision but you should leave your wallet in your pocket on this one.
James Moontasri (-105/51%) vs. Alex Morono (-115/53%)
Moontasri is a striker by trade and an extremely athletic one. He showcases a variety of flashy techniques without the sinew to hold together what could be described as a traditionally technical game. He’s a video game button masher made flesh. Morono is also a striker but one with a much more basic game. He doesn’t throw a ton of volume though and his defense is more toughness than technique. Moontasri is the type of guy that could lose a fight by looking for the perfect spinning back kick opening, never finding it, and getting swept on the scorecards so you can never feel too confident in backing him. That being said I do think Morono will give him the openings and eventually Moontasri will leverage the athletic gap here to victory. The pick is Moontasri by KO in the third round but you really shouldn’t bet fights like this.
Josh Emmett (-180/64%) vs. Scott Holtzman (+160/38%)
Emmett is a prototypical Team Alpha Male product – a good wrestler who is fairly solid on the feet. He works well in combination and is actually a tick better defensively than man TAM products. Holtzman is also a wrestler who can box but he adds in a very solid clinch game to supplement that. If Holtzman can successfully work takedowns and clinch control, this is his fight to lose. However, I’m not sure that will happen. I think Emmett is a bit better of a wrestler and cleaner on the feet. When in doubt, pick the fighter that UFC is setting up to win and that would be the TAM fighter on a card in Sacramento. The pick is Emmett by decision but no bet.
Leslie Smith (+255/28%) vs. Irene Aldana (-310/76%)
Smith is a tough as nails brawler who works good combinations inside and keeps a tremendous pace. Aldana is a sharp, technical striker with limited defense but good power and craft on the feet. This is a classic workout fight for a young prospect. Women’s 135 doesn’t have much in the way of surging new talent but Aldana is one of them and Smith is the type of durable but limited veteran who will engage Aldana in the fight she wants without posing too big of an actual threat. The pick is Aldana by decision but the odds are fair and you shouldn’t bet this.
Hector Sandoval (-125/56%) vs. Fredy Serrano (+105/49%)
Sandoval is a striker who throws heat on the feet and does so at a high pace, though low connection percentage. He can wrestle a bit generally but his propensity for winging haymakers makes him susceptible to shot takedowns. Serrano is an Olympic freestyle wrestling product and exactly as athletic as that implies. In many ways that’s also a burden on his game because on the feet he fits in the button mashing mode of offense that eschews fundamentals for flair. Sandoval’s tendency to get swing too hard and get taken down might work against him here and it’s on that basis that I’m picking Serrano to win a close decision. That being said, I don’t feel confident in the pick in any way and would feel even less confident in having my money hinge on the tactical game planning of Fredy Serrano. No bet.
Bojan Velickovic (-155/61%) vs. Sultan Aliev (+135/43%)
Velickovic is a big dude for the division and an athletic one. He’s a southpaw and a pretty solid striker but he can also wrestle when the occasion calls for it. Aliev is a combat sambo practitioner with the game you would expect. He has excellent takedowns and top control but can also strike if necessary and do so with power. I have been pretty impressed by Velickovic and think he has a good enough takedown defense to force Aliev into a standup affair. On the feet, Bojan has the edges so I will go with Velickovic by decision. No bet though.
And that’s everything for tonight y’all. Enjoy the fights everyone! Good luck to those who need it and if you’ve got any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew
(Editor’s note: All this advice is for entertainment purposes only.)
Source:: mma fighting